A Party Inspired by Nature

Chef to the stars Lulu Powers shares her tips for hosting a "green" dinner party
Bilberry in jar
Istock/tamara kulikova

Bilberry in jar

During the month of April, celebrate Earth Day and the environment by hosting a gathering inspired by nature. Your party could be set indoors or outdoors, it doesn’t matter, but be inspired the elements that you can find around your home or on a walk in the woods. 

Here are some of my favorite simple tips for an eco-friendly fête.

The Table

Set the table with a burlap table cloth and use branches down the length of the table as the basis for your centerpiece. Fill out the branches by adding smaller things from outside, like pinecones or leaves — whatever you can find that you think is interesting.

To Add Color

My mom used to use weeds by sticking them in silver cups to place on the table — who knew she was so eco-savvy? For something chic, buy some little potted plants (or pot your own) and put them in a brown lunch bag and roll the sides down to expose the plant. I also love picking fresh herbs and placing them on the table or in Mason jars.

For Serving Food and Drink

Speaking of Mason jars, you could also use them or other kinds of empty glass jars as drinking glasses. I recently found these amazing cork bowls that are versatile and fun, but also environmentally-sustainable. You can use them to serve a salad, hold fruits and vegetables on the counter, or serve bread and chips for a party. (Photo courtesy of Allison Beck)

Good Tunes

What’s a party without good music? Cat Stevens, the Grateful Dead, and The Mamas & The Papas are all great for your Earth Day playlist. 

A Vegetable-Based Menu


When planning the menu, focus on vegetable-based dishes. I love using endive spears in appetizers instead of using toast. For example, I use them in my roasted beet bruschetta for a fresh twist. It’s a great appetizer that tastes so good. My wild mushroom risotto cakes are another crowd-favorite. Round out the meal with a hearty green salad. This recipe is named after my dear friend Jeff Rapozza; we had this salad at an open air market one day, and it was divine.